Most of us have been taught to “buckle down and get the job done.” Work ethic is a sought after quality, but in some cases over zealous dedication to work wreaks havoc in other aspects of your life. When do you know that you have crossed the line to something more destructive? To be a dedicated and productive worker is a very good thing, but there is a fine line between dedication and addiction. The following 10 signs will help you to determine if you’re a workaholic.
1. Conversation - When you’re with friends and family, what types of conversations do you have? If you’re a workaholic, chances are your input will almost surely be work related. Whatever the latest “huge account” you are obsessed with will take center stage. You can manage to waddle through the small talk, but your conversations will always lead back to work. Your existence has been built to revolve around your job.
2. Who Are Your Friends? - How is your social life? Are the same people you socialize with also the same people you spend the majority of your life with at work? Friendships are made and last based on common interests. The workaholic is usually not able to connect long term with others outside of his profession.
3. Control - Are you able to properly delegate responsibility to others on your team? Can you give up total control and trust workmates to complete an assignment? “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Do you find yourself saying that in your head even when it’s not true? The workaholic needs total control. To them, nobody could possibly do the task as well.
4. Crackberry - You carry it everywhere you go. The Blackberry™ never leaves your side…even in church or on vacation. The thought of missing an important email or tidbit of information worries you to obsession. Your daughter just made an incredible sand castle right in front of your feet. You barely look up to notice and your eyes go straight back to the Crackberry. You need help.
5. The Roll Over Days - Your neighbor is complaining that it’s only September and he’s out of vacation days. Every year your wife lobbies her company for more personal days to be with family. You? Last time you checked you had 8½ weeks of rolled over vacation days. The last time you spent an entire week away from your job is when you didn’t have one. You always threaten co-workers that “one of these days I’m going to take the whole month of July off.” You never do.
6. Desk Cafeteria - What is inside your bottom desk drawer? Cans of soup, crackers, and pre-packaged tuna lunches? Your desk cafeteria helps rid you of that annoying human trait—hunger. Who has time for lunch? If you work through it you might be able to justify leaving when you are supposed to leave. This way you might catch your son’s ballgame. However if that still isn’t enough, the ballgame goes on the cut list. The workaholic only takes lunches that are business related. Otherwise it’s the desk cafeteria and nose to the grindstone.
7. I’m Not Sick - Your nose is completely clogged. Your throat feels like you’re gargling razor blades. “I’m not sick, I just have some allergies.” You pump yourself up with whatever over-the-counter medication you can find that is non-drowsy, and off to work you go. All day long your germs spread through the office like a marauding band of pirates. You might consider your dedication as productive. The ten employees you infected and who are now out sick were never a consideration in your mind. They are just weak.
8. Middle Of The Night Brainstorming - It’s 3 am. Your wife is sleeping soundly beside you. You are wide awake trying to figure out the secret to landing the account you are chasing. The hours tick by as you lay in silence brainstorming. Another sleepless night but you think you might have found the edge you needed. Your health and disposition may suffer, but you got what you were after. The workaholic always has trouble sleeping.
9. Your Roommate - Do you spend quality time with your wife on a regular basis? Take her on spontaneous adventures? Spend evenings just talking about anything with her? Or has your marriage become more like a roommate situation? You have your life, she has hers. You just happen to sleep in the same bed. Quite possibly you don’t even do that. Since you are up working late on the computer, it’s easier for you to just sleep in your home office. Your marriage is a shell and at this rate, it might be headed for eventual failure. This is not the type of provider she was hoping for.
10. Who Are Those Little People? - You remember your wife being pregnant. You certainly remember them being born. What you can’t figure out is, “Who are these little people making all this noise while I’m trying to work at home?” “You kids go watch TV upstairs so Daddy can work.” Do you have personal relationships with your children? Do you know who their teachers are and their best friends? What are their hopes and dreams? Looking ahead into the future you’ll ask your son, “I was a good Dad right?” “I provided for everything you ever needed.” Your son will look you in the eye and say “Dad, the only thing I ever wanted was your time, but you were always busy.” That is the fate of the workaholic.